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Apple Music has gotten a lot better in the last couple years — especially if you know these tricks

Key Points
  • You can do more with Apple Music than just listen to music. 
  • You can search for music by lyrics, download songs offline, listen to friends playlists and more.
  • Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Apple Music.
A child listening to music on headphones.
KidStock | Blend Images | Getty Images

If you tried Apple Music a few years ago, you might have quickly switched back to Spotify. Apple's option felt bare and wasn't very good. But Apple Music, which costs $9.99 per month, has improved a lot, with better ways to discover and share new music. There are a few neat tricks hidden away, too.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal said Apple Music has more paying subscribers than ever, and reportedly passed Spotify in the U.S. with 28 million paid subscribers to Spotify's 26 million in the U.S.

Since it comes pre-installed on iPhones, iPads and Macs, it's an enticing service to people who own Apple products. It's also available on Android if you prefer. Plus, Verizon has been offering a free subscription to new subscribers, which has likely increased its base.

Here's how to get the most out of Apple Music.

Watch music videos

Watch music videos.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple Music has a library of music videos that you can stream or download to watch later. You can find some to add to your library by doing this:

  • Tap the browse tab on the bottom of Apple Music.
  • Scroll down to Music Videos.
  • Browse through different genres.
  • If you want to search for a specific one, tap the search tab on the home screen and then scroll down to the "Music Videos" section.
  • Tap a + button to add a music video to your library.
  • Once it's in your library, you can download it by tapping the cloud icon next to the video. This lets you play it even if you don't have an internet connection.

See what friends are listening to and subscribe to their playlists

Listen to your friends' playlists.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can see what your friends are listening to and even subscribe to their playlists, so long as they're using Apple Music and have made those playlists public.

If you want to make yours public (or want to show your friends how to do it) do this:

  • Tap the "Library tab."
  • Choose "Playlists."
  • Select one of your custom playlists.
  • Tap "edit" on the top right.
  • Toggle "Show on My Profile and in Search" to on.

Now that all your friends are sharing, here's how to subscribe to their playlists:

  • Tap the "For You" tab.
  • Scroll down to either "Friends are Listening to" or "Recommended Friends" if you aren't following anyone yet.
  • Tap a friend.
  • Select "Follow" or view a playlist and tap "Add" to add it to your library

To see friends who have asked to follow you:

  • Tap "For You."
  • Select your profile picture on the top right.
  • Tap "Follow requests."
  • Check the green check mark to approve followers.

Store music offline so you can listen when you don't have signal

Download music to listen offline.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can store music to play offline, in case you're somewhere without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, like on a subway or an airplane. Doing this is easy:

  • Find a song, album or playlist you want to save.
  • Tap the "+Add" button next to it.
  • Now tap the cloud button that appears.
  • To see the music you've downloaded, tap the "Library" tab and then select "Downloaded music."

Search for songs by lyrics

Search for songs by lyrics.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can search for songs by typing in lyrics that are used in the song. This is useful if you have something stuck in your head and no idea who sang the song but still want to listen to it. Just do this:

  • Tap the search button in Apple Music.
  • Tap into the search box at the top.
  • Make sure the box below the search box says "Apple Music" and not "Your Library."
  • Search the lyrics.
  • Apple Music will return the song with those lyrics in it.

Play music by mood

Search for music by mood.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

I love this feature and use it often. My favorite is to play anything from "Chill" to unwind after work, but there are playlists for all sorts of moods or activities including party, fitness, motivation, romance, blue, sleep and more.

To find music by mood, do this:

  • Tap the browse button.
  • Scroll down to Moods.
  • Select the mood you're in.
  • Choose a playlist that you might like. I recommend "Pure Chill."

Listen on your Apple TV or HomePod with AirPlay

Use AirPlay to listen on a HomePod or Apple TV.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

If you own an Apple TV or a HomePod, you can broadcast the song you're listening to right to one of those. To do this:

  • First make sure your phone is on the same network as your Apple TV or HomePod.
  • Start playing music.
  • Tap the AirPlay icon on the bottom of the screen.
  • Choose the device you want to listen on.
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